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  • FIRST POST
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 2nd Apr 18, 12:22 PM
    • 609Posts
    • 2,770Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Busy Mee's Last Leg
    • #1
    • 2nd Apr 18, 12:22 PM
    Busy Mee's Last Leg 2nd Apr 18 at 12:22 PM
    Our Story
    We are me, Mr Mee and two grown up children ( one daughter living at home and one son who moved out last year). Mr Mee and I have been married for around a hundred years

    On the whole we have been quite good with money, having periods of our marriage when we have been very poor. We started with nothing and a mortgage interest rate of 13%, we then had little Mee's and had expensive child care costs ( no family nearby) and then supported them both through 7 years of university.

    We have also had very good years financially, Mr Mee and I both work in the public sector and over the years have both worked our way up to senior positions. We have always stretched ourselves to buy the most expensive house we could afford and added value where we could.

    However aound 9 years ago we decided to build our own house...cue the most stressful and scary financial period of our lives You have all watched the programmes on the TV and know how this goes, the plans get bigger, the bills get bigger, we mortgaged up to the hilt and borrowed as much money as we could on 0% credit cards and a bank loan. We even borrowed the kids savings.

    Thankfully we managed to get all the debt paid off and we now just have our mortgage which currently stands at a still eye watering 238,491.35.

    We are lucky in that we have a great mortgage product and pay just 1.19% (0.69% lifetime tracker). We have been therefore saving hard in higher interest savings accounts to offset the mortgage. We currently have 65k saved ( I love round numbers

    We feel very fortunate in that we have a house we love, built to our specification and our children are both doing well and financially independent.

    Mr Mee will retire in 2 years time ( he will be 60) and I would like the choice to retire too ( I will be 56).

    This diary will hopefully help me to focus over the next 2 years, and save as much as we can to offset the mortgage, along with some of our pension lump sums. We would like to keep the house, although downsizing is an option.

    We also love to travel ( we couldn't afford to when we were young) and don't want to wait until we retire. We therefore live very frugally on a day to day basis to be able to afford trips away, in addition to saving

    So......24 months until retirement.......that is a scary, yet exciting prospect so better better get started
Page 2
    • try harder
    • By try harder 13th Apr 18, 10:45 AM
    • 787 Posts
    • 3,036 Thanks
    try harder
    Morning Busy Mee1 .

    I had to laugh when i read the comment about The Coox Bank .I bank with them and there is rarely a time that i can actually get online to see my account .It is especially annoying when i have to send money to another of my accounts by the following day and i spend hours constantly trying to log in usually with no success and have to resort to calling them yet again .Hopefully things will settle down with HSBx now that things are up and running .

    What an amazing amount you have saved in just 12 days ,i cant remember what mine is now but it hasnt advanced since last week ,i put whatever it was in the bank to OP my sub account two which will soon be below 10,000 ,its great though isnt it when it appears to be free although its not really .

    What a great week you have had you really are taking this money saving business to a new level ,so inspiring as always .Hope you are having a good day at home ,thats a great start to the weekend
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 13th Apr 18, 8:22 PM
    • 54,921 Posts
    • 219,305 Thanks
    beanielou
    Well done on the switching.
    Happy shopping!
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger.
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 21st Apr 18, 7:04 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Saturday
    Gosh it is over a week since I last posted, real life has been incredibly busy over the last week.

    Last weekend flew by, and was rather spendy (meals out Friday, Saturday and Sunday ).
    I went shopping with DD on Saturday and failed to find "the dress", so we are going for round 2 today We met up with some friends on Sunday and went to a very nice bargain curry.

    I am still religiously tracking spending and it is giving me some real insight into our spending. I have fairly good control over our grocery spends, but it is becoming more apparent that we spend more on entertainment (eating out) than I thought and there are other categories of spending that I really just hadn't thought about. For example over the last couple of week we have spent quite a lot on medical expenses, 21.60 dentist, 19.60 on prescriptions and a random 6.80 in Boots.....I really hadn't clocked this sort of spending before, mainly because in my head it is non-discretionary and so I just pay for these things without thinking about it. It will all need to be baked into the budget for when we retire.

    The good financial news is that my 150 switching bonus from HSBC has arrived and I just need to check whether Mr Mee's has too. I need to ring FD over the weekend to instigate that switch as the switching offer ends on Monday.


    Work has been really busy again, but I am really enjoying it. Having a great boss has made all the difference and it has made me realise that who you work for is just as important as what you do. When I think back 12 months to when I had a useless but damaging boss, it was just a complete stressful nightmare.

    In health news, I feel great...I am finally recovered from the nasty coughing virus I started with in February and I am back at the gym. I have managed to do 10,000 steps a day over the last week and am going to the gym 2/3 times a week. I have also managed to lose 3 lb of the 7lb I accidentally put on over winter

    I have been trying to get out for walk every lunchtime and my walk when I was in the city for work took me past the market and I was amazed by the quality and price of the produce ( and no plastic wrapping). I am going to make an effort to try and get there regularly for my fruit and veg in the future.

    I think that is all, wish me luck with the shopping today .....surely we will find "the dress" today, God help us when we actually need to buy a wedding dress. She is just a guest at this wedding
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 21st Apr 18, 10:50 AM
    • 54,921 Posts
    • 219,305 Thanks
    beanielou
    All sounding good.
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger.
    • try harder
    • By try harder 21st Apr 18, 3:53 PM
    • 787 Posts
    • 3,036 Thanks
    try harder
    I am so pleased to hear that you are back at the gym two or three times a week that is great news and so very good for you its lovely to hear you so bright and cheerful and the walking is great too plus the fact that you are happy at work .

    You have had a brilliant year with all the bank switches truly well done

    Hopefully you have had a successful day on the dress front
    • noblet
    • By noblet 21st Apr 18, 5:10 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    noblet
    well done on all the switches - I found it took more energy than I had anticipated just keeping up with what was switching when, and opening endless envelopes from the bank!
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 22nd Apr 18, 12:10 PM
    • 2,013 Posts
    • 20,889 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Hello Busy Mee - I've just tracked you down and read through in light of the sister comment elsewhere. Good to 'meet' you - I will follow your progress. You are much more active around the cash interest space and switching than me
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after May 45.81% 4,581.38/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,021.80/3,000 including stores so far 34.06% of my annual budget at the end of May
    My DFD is here
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 26th Apr 18, 7:32 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Catching up
    Urgh everything so busy as the moment, I am having trouble balancing work, home, exercise, and visiting the elderly step-parent. Normally the first thing to go when I am busy is the exercise but I am desperately trying to keep this going at the moment, because it makes me feel sooo much better.

    I have managed to do 10,000 steps a day for the last 10 days and I am going to the gym 2 or 3 times. I am now back up to running 3k comfortably, so I am hoping to be able to run Park Run again soon.

    The long trip to the elderly step parent every other weekend is the thing that is tipping the balance but this (unfortunately) won't be for ever. However we do have more parents who are growing more elderly and don't live close to us, so supporting them is going to be a continuing feature of our lives. Another good reason to retire I think.

    I know I am not alone in this, most of my friends of a similar age also have elderly parents who need support in varying degrees. We all seem to have jumped from caring for our children to caring for our parents almost immediately. A result of having children later (although I was 26 when I had my eldest, so relatively young by today's standards )and people living longer.

    In financial news we have now received both 150 switching bonus from HSBC and these have been paid into my odds and sods account, which now stands at a whopping 539.77 This is just since 1 April but does include 425 in switching bonuses. I have now started the switch to FD, so that will be another 125 to come in May ( I got in just in time before the changed the switching reward from cash to a gift ).

    I have nearly finished setting up the web of standing orders that swish through all the accounts to meet the minimum requirements and we are now paying 1750 a month into regular savers a month, all paying 5% in interest This is making things tighter than a camel's bottom in a sand storm, so I will need to see if we can maintain this.

    Already I can see that the emergency fund/holiday fund is suffering. We have just had some big car bills and the credit card bill is huge for next month and we are going on holiday.

    This will effectively wipe out our emergency fund to nil, nothing, nada This is the first time in forever this has happened. Luckily all our big expenses for this year are paid, so there will just need to be much belt tightening when we come back from holiday.

    The grocery shopping budget is still going well, I really feel like I have this nailed now and we have good stocks of all the things we regularly use. I went to Lidl at the weekend to pick up their weekend deals, 500g jars of passata for 49p and deluxe Italian meat platters for 99p.

    I used the meat platters to make a sort of meze for the lunch boxes ,home made humorous, carrot and pepper sticks, Italian meats, olives and pitta bread. Apparently DD's lunch boxes are becoming a talking point at work, with her colleagues wanting to know what she has today .....I guess it beats a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps, but I hope I haven't set the bar too high

    I also need to give another shout out for H@mebargains, their tins of tomatoes are 25p and are absolutely fine, also their red kidney beans are cheaper than Aldi too. I know it is only pence but our HB and Aldi are almost side by side and I shop in them both.

    I think that is all, it is nearly time for my most favourist time of the month and the monthly round-up I definitely need to get out more, it is a good job I am off travelling the world soon
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 26-04-2018 at 11:06 AM.
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 26th Apr 18, 8:13 AM
    • 2,736 Posts
    • 13,570 Thanks
    shangaijimmy
    Busy busy times in the busymee household! Sounds like you're on top of it all!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2025... 39//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction 42,061.17
    Aug 2009: 163,051 // Current: 93,938.84 // Avg Daily Interest 4.22
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 74.24% of 41,000
    • beanielou
    • By beanielou 26th Apr 18, 9:39 AM
    • 54,921 Posts
    • 219,305 Thanks
    beanielou
    Keep plodding
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~** **Weight loss 2 stone 11 lbs **

    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger.
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 29th Apr 18, 7:38 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Spending Tracker
    Morning everyone and thanks to folk for popping in

    We are nearly at the end of the month, in fact pay day happened early on Friday and there is not too much more financial movement to happen, so I thought I would share my experiment in tracking spends throughout the month.

    And it is horrendously embarrassing.......and I may well be drummed out of MSE....but in the interests of full and open disclosure and as my gift to you to make you feel better about your own spending, I can disclose we have spent 1130 this month, on well, just stuff that just happens

    I have logged all spends through the month, that has not been paid by a regular standing order or direct debit. So all groceries, dentist , clothes, hair cuts, entertainment, fuel and travel costs, basically everything......and it has been a real eye opener.

    I normally cycle a lot if these costs through a couple of credit cards ( cash back and M&S) so a lot of this isn't that visible, I just pay the credit card off in full the following month and wince if it is particularly high.

    There are four main areas of spending that are over 200:

    Personal - includes clothing and things like hairdressers 284.24
    Transport- petrol/diesel and car parking 234.26
    Entertainment- largely eating out, but includes a couple of rounds of drinks 236.01
    Groceries 216.19

    The other areas of spending were non discretionary things like dental check ups, prescriptions, house stuff ( boiler service and electrician )

    The highest spending area was personal, and actually 100 of this total was spent on DD, this was the result of two shopping trips for "the dress" and me treating her to what I thought were bits and pieces of clothing, a top and a couple of skirts. This is a real guilty pleasure for me, I love shopping with her ( nice quality time) and I love treating her. I may need to cut back here

    This also included a new pair of shoes for Mr Mee, new sandals for me, cool clothing for our holiday, one trip to the hairdressers for me (38) and a set of new hair clippers for Mr Mee.

    There is definitely room for improvement here

    The other area of high discretionary spend is on entertainment, it seems that we eat out rather more than I thought ( no wonder I am struggling to lose weight). In fairness, we have had a Birthday this month and have eaten out three times as a result, twice with friends and once with the kids ( we of course picked up the bill ).

    The other thing we are clearly doing is "rewarding" ourselves every time we do the gutty journey to visit the elderly step parent. It is a 2 hour drive there and a 2 hour drive back, and takes up pretty much a full day at the weekend. We often call for something to eat on the way back....fish and chips yesterday

    Transport costs are also quite high because of the extra fuel costs to do this journey, otherwise we are quite good at car sharing when we are both going in the same direction.

    I am also happy with our grocery spends, but I have really focused on reducing this. I did notice however that Mr Mee is topping up the lunch he takes from home, with extra drinks and snacks at work to the tune of 37.75 over the month but tbh in the scheme of our other spending this is small potatoes (or crisps and chocolate in his case )

    So an interesting, if slightly horrifying exercise. It does give me a more realistic idea of what we spend for when we retire and actually there is plenty of scope for improvement, if we need to.

    I won't continue this through May, because we are away for a couple of weeks but might do this again in June and maybe set a budget for each of these areas of spending to see if that helps.

    I am going to slink away in embarrassment now
    Last edited by Busy Mee1; 29-04-2018 at 7:42 AM.
    • shangaijimmy
    • By shangaijimmy 29th Apr 18, 7:50 AM
    • 2,736 Posts
    • 13,570 Thanks
    shangaijimmy
    An eye opener...and a can of worms that i'm not tackling with Mrs SJ just yet!!
    MFW: Turning June 2036 into March 2025... 39//120 Payments Challenge, Diary Reduction 42,061.17
    Aug 2009: 163,051 // Current: 93,938.84 // Avg Daily Interest 4.22
    MFiT-T4 #8 - 74.24% of 41,000
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 29th Apr 18, 8:09 AM
    • 1,455 Posts
    • 6,911 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Have you worked out what your spends are as a % of your income? That may give you a clearer idea as I know your income is huge compared to mine.

    Maybe finding an activity to do with your daughter rather than shopping may be the way to spend quality time with her instead of shopping. Yes you'll probably have to pay for the activity, but the outcomes maybe the same, just a bit less spends.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = 400) 2018 Starts at 13/100 o/s 34,750.
    Jan 18 14/100 Feb 15/100 March 18/100 April 19/100 May 20/100 June 21/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029 Current mortgage free date: April 2025 March 2024 Jan 2024
    MFW 2018 Challenge Member #162 1600ish/2,500
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 29th Apr 18, 8:27 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Jimmy - Mrs SJ seems very good and tbh what you are doing is working really well for you and your family.

    Wishing- It is about 20% of our income. It isn't that we can't afford it, but more that I want to make conscious decisions about our spending and not "waste" money so that we can properly enjoy our retirement.

    I do spend quite a bit of good free quality time with DD, walking her dog and going to the gym. It is just that we both love shopping and she is such a pleasure to buy for. She looks good in everything and she is appreciative of everything she gets....but I need to be strong
    • Suffolk lass
    • By Suffolk lass 29th Apr 18, 11:59 AM
    • 2,013 Posts
    • 20,889 Thanks
    Suffolk lass
    Busy Mee1 - You really are my Sister from another Mother! - I do exactly what you do with DD with my DS. I am going to track through May as April involved our Easter Hols with a trip to the Scottish Highlands and weekends with friends on the way up and Mum on the way back. I do not actually know what my percentage spends on invisible things are. I do know my CC was over 1000 for each of the last four months and I was not happy. I now plan to track this and report on it in my diary. Thank you!
    MFiT T4 #2 update 88.72% after Q9 tiny bit ahead of where I should be
    Save 12k in 2018 #53 - after May 45.81% 4,581.38/10,000
    OS Grocery Challenge 2018 spent 1,021.80/3,000 including stores so far 34.06% of my annual budget at the end of May
    My DFD is here
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 30th Apr 18, 7:36 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Month 1/24 - April update
    So the best day of the month and my round up of the month's progress:

    Savings April. 1678.39/1458.33
    Total Savings. 66,678/100,000

    Total Mortgage. 237,497.48
    Repayment 68,497.48
    IO. 169,000.00

    Savings:Mortgage. 28%

    Odds and sods 539.77
    Emergency Fund. 30.00

    Overall I am pleased with the amount saved this month, but because I have now set everything up so that standing orders go to savings at the beginning of the month, I would have to make a conscious decision not to save my target amount. This is obviously a more committed approach than waiting to see what is left at the end of the month.
    This has impacted on our emergency fund. I have cleared this out to cover the large May Credit Card ( car insurance and 2 services) and give us some holiday money, but I have left 30 ( Birthday Money) in the pot because I could bear it being completely empty

    I am really pleased with the amount of "free" money saved in the odds and sods account, this was a bumper month with 425 of switching bonuses from N@t West and HSBC. I have a further 125 due in May from FD.

    On to Month 2/24 and May. I hope to save at least 1660. 80, which keeps us on track to hit 70k in savings by end June and well in front for our target of 100k in 24 months.

    We are away for a couple of weeks in May, so just hoping that we can keep our spending low for the couple weeks we are here, so that I can start building the EF up again. In June I intend to set budgets for all areas of our spending.

    I think that is all ......Only 23 months until I can finish work
    • wishingthemortgaheaway
    • By wishingthemortgaheaway 30th Apr 18, 7:43 AM
    • 1,455 Posts
    • 6,911 Thanks
    wishingthemortgaheaway
    Impressive savings amounts.
    Here's to a frugal May.
    The 100 payment countdown (each payment = 400) 2018 Starts at 13/100 o/s 34,750.
    Jan 18 14/100 Feb 15/100 March 18/100 April 19/100 May 20/100 June 21/100
    Term Mortgage free date: October 2029 Current mortgage free date: April 2025 March 2024 Jan 2024
    MFW 2018 Challenge Member #162 1600ish/2,500
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 1st May 18, 7:07 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    The Universe
    The Universe looked down and said "lo look at that silly woman who has spent all her emergency fund, let us send her a broken boiler "

    Our boiler has been condemned and will cost 180 to repair . Thank goodness for my credit card.

    I think I need to start saving up for a new boiler

    In more positive news it is a new month and 12.70 has been Tilly Tidied into the "odds and sods account.

    I have been reading that lots of other people on here are starting to invest in S&S and I appear to be bucking that trend, as I have just stopped the 100 DD I had going into a S&S ISA with Nutmeg .

    I opened a Nutmeg account in the 17/18 tax year with 2000 saved in my "odds and sods" account in 16/17, I was attracted by the 200 cash back that they were offering at the time. Any hoo like most S&S it hasn't done brilliantly, the account currently stands at 3430.

    Over the year it has made the princely sum of 30 ( 230 if you include the cashback ). Not bad I suppose if you consider the initial 2000 was "free" money, with another 200 in free money on top.

    However I have just paused any further investment in it because I will need to really start maxing out our ISA allowances as our savings increase and we get closer to retirement. I will have a load of regular savers that will mature at the end of this tax year and I don't want to restrict myself to this particular ISA at this stage in the tax year. I will decide later in the year where I want to hold my 20k for this year and probably transfer this account across too. I am really not sure if I am doing the right thing here, so any advice welcome
    • try harder
    • By try harder 1st May 18, 8:53 AM
    • 787 Posts
    • 3,036 Thanks
    try harder
    Loving your determination and the fact that every month you always reach your goal and more .Great savings for the month .

    I have around 15,000 in ISAs they have increased around 11% over the year overall , obviously they do go up and down daily but as we dont have a big income i do have to hope that they will do well over the next 8 years . I was putting 500 a month in but it was getting difficult to find that much each month so i have stopped but i think i might start again but with a smaller amount.

    Its a shame about the boiler ,so annoying
    • Busy Mee1
    • By Busy Mee1 1st May 18, 9:50 AM
    • 609 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    Busy Mee1
    Thanks Try Harder, it sounds like your investments have done well.

    Part of my reticence with S&S are they are a long term investment and actually we are saving for the shorter term, i.e. the period before the mortgage is paid off and SRP kicks in. We will be considerably better off in the long term but need to supplement the early retirement period.

    I am also a wuss and terrified of losing any money that is effectively destined to pay off our mortgage....
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